John 11:16-20
John 11:16 (KJB)
Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
The name “Didymus” means “the twin” which was the surname of the Apostle Thomas. It is a shame that Thomas is known by “Doubting Thomas” because here he is showing bravery and a willingness to die with Jesus if it comes to that. After the ascension of Christ and Pentecost, the Apostle Thomas became a great missionary with his terminal ministry in India. So Thomas was anything but a doubter because he had a tremendous ministry to many. He may possibly have been the first Christian missionary to India.
John 11:17 (KJB)
Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
When Jesus had arrived in Bethany He found that Lazarus had been in the grave for four days. This is very important to the resurrection narrative because the Jews believed that the spirit of a person remained by the body till the fourth day and then it flew away. By Lazarus being in the tomb for four days, means that his spirit would have departed which means there would have been absolutely no chance of any life existing in his body. He was as dead as could be. This way there could be no chance of an accusation that his spirit was still present.
John 11:18 (KJB)
Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:
Bethany was just under two miles from Jerusalem which shows how close Jesus was. There is no doubt that someone would have recognized Jesus and went to tell the Pharisees in Jerusalem. Some of them probably came and maybe with the intent to arrest Him but after what they were about to witness, they seriously needed to rethink their position on Jesus.
John 11:19 (KJB)
And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
To comfort - To console
Mary and Martha were distraught about the death of their brother. He was probably a young man which always intensifies the grief. They no doubt were well known in their small village and many had come to grieve with them and to comfort them in their time of sorrow. Yes even Christians can cry when they lose a loved one even if they know that loved one is in Heaven. Death always leaves a void but God’s love and compassion can fill that void.
John 11:20 (KJB)
Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
Martha must have been a person with a very outgoing personality. As soon as she got word that Jesus was coming their way, she did not wait for Jesus to arrive, instead she went to meet Him. Mary had stayed behind in the house. Maybe at this point she did not know that Jesus was coming to them. Nevertheless both Mary and Martha loved the Lord but exhibited that love in different ways. Mary seemed to be more quiet while Martha seemed to be more outgoing.